Why more young men are dying in the North than South

New figures show almost 1,200 more men die before the age of 44 in North each year

The increase in premature deaths in cities such as Manchester has been linked to a rise in drug use and suicide
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Mortality rates among young men in the North of England are far higher than in the South, new figures show.

Research by the University of Manchester and Sky News shows that between 2014 and 2016, an annual average of 1,177 more men aged between 25 and 44 died in the North than in the South. Since 1965, a total of 1.2 million more people have died before the age of 75 in northern England.

Although cancer and heart disease remain the biggest killers of young men across the UK, the increased death rate and shortened life expectancy in the North correlate with what Sky News calls “an alarming rise in deaths caused by drugs, alcohol and suicide” in the region since the mid-1990s, when life expectancies across the country were fairly level.

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The report suggests there is still a “deep division” between the two halves of the country as a result of of social policies in the 1980s that facilitated the closure of “vast swaths” of industry in the North.

The researchers also point to unequal funding for GPs as a reason for the imbalance in death rates, arguing that the “current formula awards more money to London and rural areas - areas of least need - while more deprived areas in the north receive less money, despite having the greatest needs”.

Senior report author Dr Evan Kontopantelis, from the University of Manchester, said: “The numbers, we thought, were staggering.

“From 1990 onwards there has been a very big increase which has led to 50% increase in mortality, which is a big number. The increase in numbers in the North are down to socio-economic deprivation.”

The is also a significant difference in death rates between young women, with an average of 627 more women aged between 25 and 44 dying in the North than in the South each year.

“For women, cancer is by far the biggest killer among almost all age groups,” the report adds.

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